Dr. Jim Dempsey is the newest member of our 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team. He’s a husband, dad, granddad, pastor, radio host, and author. Becky and I are excited to introduce Jim and his recently published book Parenting Unchained to you. After you read my interview with him you will definitely be watching for his monthly posts!
With faith, hope, and love,
Lori & Becky
Lori: You have recently joined our 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting team. Tell our readers a little about yourself and your ministry.
Jim: I’m married to Gail and we have three grown daughters. We loved the Lord. While raising our girls we pursued a behavioral modification approach to parenting. Now we see that God cares more about the heart than outward behavior. We also see, through hindsight and the benefit of ministries like 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting and the National Center for Biblical Parenting, that heart-based parenting is not only possible but essential. A heart-based approach can be learned, and all Christian parents can do it. I serve as a pastor to families in a local church and enjoy writing and leading parenting seminars. Gail and I have three grandchildren and enjoy trying out heart-based strategies on them! I’m on the board of the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and love teaching their seminar “Cooperation, Consequences, and Keeping Your Sanity.”
Lori: I understand your book, Parenting Unchained, started out differently didn’t it? How did it change?
Jim: The book sat unpublished for years as The Ultimate Father Figure because it focused on God’s pattern for parenting. But the book lacked punch. So I began a re-work in late 2013 and since my kids were now grown, I realized how Satan had deceived me. For every truth God gives us, Satan spreads a lie to undermine that truth. Satan used that strategy in the garden—and because it worked then, he continues to use it. My book turned into Parenting Unchained–Overcoming The Ten Deceptions That Shackle Christian Parents to expose the deceptions Satan uses to wreck God’s plan for parents.
Lori: Are you sure that these deceptions are really satanic or are they simply due to our ignorance?
Jim: People certainly do muddle things up as they seek their own way apart from God, and I don’t want to give Satan more credit than he’s due. However, there is a passage in Scripture that answers the question with authority. Jesus said, in John 8:44, “Whenever he (Satan) speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Jesus told us that Satan was the original liar, and all lies ultimately proceeded from him. Humans become ‘carriers’ for the disease of lying, but the fatal germ started with Satan.
Lori: Some would say this is just a theological issue with no practical application. Why does this matter to moms and dads?
Jim: Here’s why: If parenting is a God-given job intended to produce godly offspring as Malachi 2:15 says, then God has a plan for how to do it. Satan wants to sabotage God’s plan because he opposes all that is godly. If parents only need to dispel misconceptions then the answer is more information. But if the greatest threat to godly parenting is Satan, then we must look to spiritual resources that God alone supplies. Christian parents are in a life and death struggle for their children’s souls. We need the wisdom promised by the Holy Spirit, because we have an enemy.
Lori: Describe your mission to parents.
Jim: God clarified my mission as He let me see my own errors and sins. I want to help Christian parents avoid deadly mistakes, and grow in their faith. The greatest weapon God gives us is His Scripture, so Parenting Unchained is simply a Bible study bringing into focus God’s truths for parents. In my book and in my radio show, I’ve learned to apply a three-part test for all parenting advice: Is it Biblical? Is it practical? Does it produce lasting change? Recognizing Satan’s tricks was a necessary step for me, as it is for all Christians. Paul said in Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Don’t be taken captive.
By James D. Dempsey, Ph.D.
Husband to Gail, Father of three , Grandfather to three
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Family Pastor at Anderson Mill Baptist Church
Presenter for the National Center for Biblical Parenting